Florida Court Holds Landowner Can Be Liable for Injuries, Even Though the Hazard Was “Open and Obvious”

As a general rule, Florida landowners owe a duty of care to those whom they invite onto their property. This duty, however, is not without its limits. For example, a landowner will not typically be found liable for injuries that are caused by a hazard that is “open and obvious.” The rationale is that when a hazard is open and obvious, the visitor has equal of the danger as the landowner, and should be able to avoid the hazard. In a recent Florida slip-and-fall case, however, the court discussed a situation where a landowner may still be liable for a plaintiff’s injuries that were caused by an open and obvious hazard. The Facts of the Case According to the court’s opinion, the plaintiff tripped and fell on an uneven section of sid...

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Can You Still Make a Claim After Signing a Liability Release Waiver?

Recently, a state appellate court issued an opinion in a Florida personal injury case involving an accident that occurred on the Daytona International Speedway. The case required the court to determine whether the plaintiff was prevented from pursuing a claim against the Speedway based on a release of liability waiver she had signed before the accident. Ultimately, the court concluded that although the waiver was valid and enforceable, it did not cover the specific claim made by the plaintiff. The Facts of the Case The court’s recitation of the facts was brief; however, it appeared from the court’s discussion of the facts that the plaintiff was a pit-crew member for one of the racers. Before the plaintiff was allowed onto the racetr...

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The Importance of Naming All Potentially Liable Parties in a Florida Car Accident Case

Earlier this month, a state appellate court issued a written opinion in a Florida car accident case requiring the court to determine whether a residential community could be held liable for an accident victim’s injuries. The court’s opinion largely focused on the question of whether the defendant’s negligence was the proximate cause of the plaintiffs’ injuries. However, the case also serves as a valuable lesson for Florida injury victims. Proximate Cause in Florida Injury Cases To establish a claim of liability against a defendant, a plaintiff must be able to show that the defendant’s actions were the proximate cause of their injury. To be sure, proximate cause is a complex legal concept, but boiled down to its ess...

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The Florida Rules of Evidence Play a Major Role in All Personal Injury Accidents

The judge plays an extremely important role in any Florida personal injury case. Among the major duties of the judge during a trial is to make all evidentiary rulings. These may come up in a pre-trial motion in limine or throughout trial when a party attempts to elicit or present certain evidence that the opposing party believes is objectionable and should be excluded. Florida judges are guided in these decisions by the Florida Rules of Evidence, which are quite complex and cover many of the situations that may come up during a trial. Perhaps the most basic rule is stated in Rule 90.402, which explains that “all relevant evidence is admissible, except as provided by law.” Thus, the party attempting to admit evidence must first establish that it is relevant...

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Florida Court Discusses the Prohibition against Stacking Inferences in Recent Car Accident Case

Recently, a state appellate court issued an opinion in a Florida car accident case discussing circumstantial evidence as well as its limits. The case required the court to explain the rule against stacking inferences based on circumstantial evidence. The Facts of the Case According to the court’s opinion, the plaintiff was riding as a passenger in a minivan that was being driven by a family member. The minivan was traveling over the Buckman Bridge when, about a mile onto the bridge, the driver of the minivan had to bring the vehicle to a stop because there was a ladder in the road. Apparently, no one saw how the ladder ended up on the road; however, the plaintiff testified that she saw a motorist who had parked ...

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Florida Court Explains a Plaintiff’s Comparative Negligence Is Irrelevant in Recent Intentional Tort Case

Earlier this month, a state appellate court issued a written opinion in a Florida personal injury case discussing the doctrine of comparative negligence as it pertains to allegations involving an intentional tort. Ultimately, the court concluded that a court is prohibited from reducing a plaintiff’s damages based on their own negligent actions if the defendant was found liable for an intentional tort. Intentional Torts Versus Claims of Negligence A tort is a wrong act that may result in civil liability. Most torts are the result of the defendant’s negligence; however, tort claims can also be based on a defendant’s intentional act. For example, the claim of fraudulent concealment is an intentional tort. One thing th...

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Florida Court Considers a Case Discussing the Substitution of a Party After the Named Defendant Died

A recent opinion by a Florida appellate court considered whether a case was properly dismissed after the plaintiff substituted the defendant’s estate after the defendant’s death. The plaintiff initially filed a complaint naming a man as the defendant; however, the plaintiff later learned that the man had died. The case deals with how a plaintiff must proceed in the event that they need to substitute a party in a Florida personal injury case. Under Rule 1.260(a)(1), if a defendant dies and the plaintiff’s claim can continue, the defendant may be substituted for an appropriate party. According to the rule, a motion to substitute must be made within 90 days of the suggestion of death on the record in court. Failure to file a motion to substitute within 90 d...

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Who is Liable When Injured by Heavy Machinery?

Recently, the state’s supreme court issued a written opinion in a Florida personal injury case discussing an interesting aspect of Florida law that allows for an accident victim to hold the owners of dangerous instrumentalities liable for their injuries under certain circumstances. This application of the vicarious liability doctrine is somewhat unique to Florida and is important for Florida injury victims to understand, as it may provide an additional means of recovery. Vicarious Liability and Dangerous Instrumentalities Under Florida law, the owners of dangerous instrumentalities can be held v...

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Florida Court Discusses Medical Malpractice Pre-Suit Requirement

In a recent case, a state appellate court issued an opinion in a Florida personal injury case requiring the court to discuss the state’s medical malpractice pre-suit requirement and whether the plaintiff’s case was required to comply with that requirement. Ultimately, the court determined that the defendant failed to establish, as a matter of law, that the plaintiff’s case sounded in medical malpractice, and thus the plaintiff did not need to comply with the pre-suit requirements.Florida’s Pre-Suit Notice Requirement Under Florida Statute section 766.106(2)(a), prospective medical malpractice plaintiffs must provide notice t...

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Hardware Store’s Motion for Summary Judgment Denied in Recent Florida Premises Liability Case

Earlier this month, a state appellate court issued a written opinion in a Florida premises liability lawsuit requiring the court to determine if the lower court was correct to grant the defendant hardware store’s motion for summary judgement. The court ultimately concluded that each of the plaintiff’s two theories was sufficiently supported by the evidence such that they should proceed toward trial. Thus, the appellate court reversed the lower court’s decision to dismiss the plaintiff’s case. The Facts of the Case The plaintiff was shopping at the defendant hardware store when an object fell from a shelf behind him and struck him behind the knee. The plaintiff later filed a two-count personal injury lawsuit against the store. The plaintiff testified tha...

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